“Regularly check your tires.” We’ve all heard it before from various sources, telling us to look for wear, check the air pressure or any damage to a tire.
But what if the tire on our car/truck/motorcycle or, in this case, RV, isn’t the right tire for the job, but is on your vehicle regardless? How would you know? How would you know, particularly if you purchased the RV new from a dealer and the tires on there were the factory equipped tires? It might startle you to learn that Goodyear- you know, the “Blimp worthy” folks- have been accused of not only putting a tire, the G159, that wasn’t appropriate to handle the speeds and loads of an RV, but that they systematically took steps to hide when the tires failed and caused injuries and deaths.
Now, an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will examine whether the tire was improperly placed on RVs, following disclosure of information that Goodyear kept out of the public view for many years.
You may not know it, but tires are meant to be on specific vehicles because the speed a car operates or the amount of weight a vehicle carries impacts how a tire functions.
Think about it like this- you wouldn’t put a tire for a 4X4 truck on a sports car. When a tire is used improperly, it can lead to a tire failure.
A wrong tire may fit but can have too much weight or operate at too high a speed. Heat results when a tire is carrying too much load or is being operated at a speed higher than its operational rating.
Tire failure is often a result of the tire getting too hot and the heat breaking down the tire. When a tire fails, it can be deadly because it often fails when someone is operating their vehicle, often at high speeds.
Losing a tire at high speeds through a tread/belt detachment or a sidewall rupture can lead to loss of control of a vehicle and, unfortunately, injuries or death to people in the vehicle and those around them.
Somewhere along I-75 in Georgia, the treads came off the left front Goodyear tire of their Monaco Coach RV. Woods tried to keep the RV under control, according to the lawsuit, but it crossed over the median and slammed into an embankment. The nearly 40-foot-long vehicle then hit a direction sign, slid across the entranceway for a rest area, and struck a second embankment, before finally coming to a stop.
In the case of the G159 tire, the article alleges it was designed to operate on in town delivery trucks, not on RV’s.
Those are drastically different uses- one is typically used at slower speeds for shorter periods of time while the other sits for long periods of time (not many people use an RV for a daily driver) followed by periods of time of highway driving, often at interstate speeds in excess of 65 miles an hour.
Lawsuits filed against Goodyear alleged the G159 wasn’t designed to go over 65 miles an hour, but it was continually sold to RV manufacturers in an era where speed limits nationwide were going to 70 or even 75 miles an hour.
Attorneys throughout the southern U.S. have alleged that Goodyear knew this, but continued to sell the tire, leading to numerous deaths and injuries.
What can you do to make sure you’ve got the right tire on your car?
Many retailers offer online fitment guides to check what tires you have on your vehicle.
The manufacturer of the vehicle also lists what types of tires and weights your vehicle can carry on a sticker found in the door well of your car, too. You can also take your car to a reputable mechanic or dealer, who SHOULD be following technical service bulletins about particular vehicles and tires.